As Leon warned, if you are a GOP leader the only subject you are going to be able to talk about is the latest stupid thing that Trump has to say. Senator Marco Rubio fell into that pit yesterday when trying to discuss his future plans. House Speaker Paul Ryan experienced it today when Trump’s antics stomped all over his press conference.
Today, Speaker Ryan held a press conference to unveil the GOP House’s legislative agenda and he, too, was asked about the very ugly campaign being conducted by Donald Trump against a Indiana-born federal judge Gonzalo Curiel:
The exchange was reported by Mediaite this way:
Paul Ryan said Tuesday, “claiming someone cannot do their job because of their race is a textbook racist comment,” though did not go as far as to label the man himself a racist, just his rhetoric. Trump has alleged that Judge Curiel could not possibly be fair in his assessment of the Trump U case given the candidate’s proposal to build a wall on the country’s southern border.
“I don’t know what’s in his heart but I think the comment itself is defined [as textbook racism]. I’m not going to defend these kind of comments, because they’re indefensible. I’m going to defend our ideas,” he continued. “If we go into the fall as a divided party, we are doomed to lose.”
After a series of questions about the Trump Train locomotive, Ryan exasperatingly said “Thank God!” when he was finally asked a policy question.
If you don’t want to watch the whole video, this is the statement you’ll be reading about for several days:
— POLITICO (@politico) June 7, 2016
There is really no other way of saying it. What Trump has engaged in is a very ugly example of race-baiting for political gain and his statements about Judge Curiel are, as Ryan says, textbook examples of racist speech.